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Does your dog follow you around all the time?

Isn't it annoying when your pooch follows you everywhere around the house. Is it a problem with your dog or you? Actually, this is a problem behavior we as owners often unintentionally create. We constantly show our dogs attention way too much and they like it. It feels good to them. For young dogs it can be a feeling of security. For excited ones, it becomes a reinforcer for more attention. Dogs learn to yearn for it. The result is a pup who really has no choice but to follow you around trying to make eye contact or constantly pushing up under our arm with its' muzzle. When dogs are outside with their owner they tend to drift farther and arent right next to us because they get distracted by a more interesting stimulus. Sights, sounds and smells draw their attention from us. But back inside they revert back to following us around because they are less stimulated with sight, sound and smell because they are the same and usual. Most importantly, the constant "fawning over" our dogs that we do (including conversation) draws them right back to their person- YOU. Yes, we as owners are hopefully their leaders, but effective leadership incorporates attention at times. This means we request their attention when we want or need them to do something, but we must also pay no attention in order to help our dogs learn to feel secure and confident with themselves, in our world.
 

4 Comments to Does your dog follow you around all the time?:

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James Alex on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 5:56 AM
Very interesting information indeed!! My dog often follows me in the home when he feels hungry. I'm glad to learn such informative lessons about dog behavior. Thanks.
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Michael Peer on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 6:09 AM
James,since you think he follows you when he is hungry, maybe he is indicating to you its mealtime. Of course if you constantly give him treats or food when he follows,this could be reinforcing his behavior. If it's not mealtime,try ignoring or give him a command to go do something (alternative behavior). Good luck!


jessica elswick on Saturday, August 24, 2013 10:33 PM
My 7 year old dog follows me everywhere . It's like she can't be alone. I don't know what to do. She started seizures last year . But she been following me since she was young.
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Michael Peer, Professional Dog Trainer on Sunday, August 25, 2013 10:46 AM
Jessica, her behavior has been learned from all of the unearned attention you and others have been giving her when she comes up to you and stands, sits or lies in front of you. This behavior is reinforced each time with the attention. To change this you will need to consistently show her that when she comes up to you in requested, you will ignore her. Read my post on Choosing to Ignore. Once she's learned that her gregarious approaches lead to being ignored, her behavior will cease. It's important to reward her the moment she leaves or turns away with a light pat or quiet verbal. Therefore, we want the dog to be rewarded for quiet, submissive behavior not in front of us in our personal space but rather, for being away or off to the side of us. Regular obedience exercises of momentary to longer Down, Stays will help to shape more confident behavior as well. Good luck!

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